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Saturday, 25 May 2019

A crash, and a recovery

My main workstation needed a reboot, so I rebooted it ... and it didn't reboot. It came back with the dreaded "grub-rescue" prompt. And I couldn't work out how to rescue it.

So I decided to reinstall linux (Fedora 30). That didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked.
The first five drives that I tried to install to, were recognised by the HP xw6600, but not by linux. Eventually, I tried a 160gb drive, and that worked. I have no idea why.

So I also connected up the drive that wouldn't boot as the second drive, hoping that I'd be able to copy all the configuration files across.

That worked. I mounted it using mount /dev/mapper/fedora-root temp2 and all the files were there, so I was able to copy them to the newly installed drive. That meant that all my bookmarks, and ftp bookmarks, were preserved!



So why did it fail? I just don't know. Computers fail all the time. Just keep making backups!

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Milkshakes

Is throwing a milkshake at someone, an acceptable form of protest?

Absolutely not!

Saying what you think is acceptable. Holding up a placard is acceptable. Joining in a protest march is acceptable.

Throwing a milkshake is bullying. Legally, it's common assault. It is not NOT political discourse, it is not legally protected free speech. If you think that throwing a milkshake is an acceptable form of protest, then you also think that an appropriate reply to your milkshake, would be a milkshake thrown at you.

What happened to polite, civilised disagreement?

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Your personal information

They leak. They all leak.

I've been getting huge amounts of spam from people claiming to know my password. They give an old password that I used at one time on LinkedIn (long since changed, but I keep a record of past passwords). Clearly, LinkedIn had a leak at one time. It's annoying (but my spam filter removes the spam from my inbox).

Twitter leaked 32 million account details.

Facebook leaked hundreds of million account details.

Now Instagram has leaked 49 million names and phone numbers.

I'm not surprised. When you have systems as large and complex as that, there's likely to be security lapses.

So, what do you do when one of these social media sites asks you for your personal information? Me - I make up something for them. A fake name, a fake date of birth, a fake phone number. The email address is one that I create just for that purpose. And I record all of this, in case they ask me to prove that I am who I say I am.

It's surprising what they accept as proof. Facebook commonly asks people to prove identity by giving a phone number, which they then text a code to, and you type the code into Facebook, thus proving ... proving that you own a phone. Why they think that this proves that you are who you say you are, is beyond my feeble brain to fathom.

So that when all this gets leaked, and becomes available on the various sites that offer such information, I haven't lost anything that would allow impersonation (modern parlance is "identity theft").

Eventually, Facebook might ask me to prove my identity - a passport, or a driving licence, perhaps? NO WAY. It's bad enough if you leak my name, phone and birthday. I'm not going to give you something which, if leaked, will cause me SERIOUS inconvenience. And yes, I do see all the promises that you make that you'll take very great care over this information.

But I don't believe that you are able to.

Fedora 30 upgrade problem

There's a nasty little problem when you upgrade to Fedora 30. If your original install was Fedora 20 or older, then when you upgrade to Fedora 30 and reboot, it doesn't reboot. You find yourself looking at the grub> prompt.

This is because when you upgrade Linux, that doesn't upgrade grub.

The answer is to do grub2-install before you upgrade to Fedora 30.

If you don't, then fix it thus:


grub> configfile /grub2/grub.cfg.rpmsave 
 
and then  grub2-install /dev/sda1 (or whatever the boot partition is).
 
 
 
https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Common_F30_bugs

Thursday, 18 April 2019

A pain in the arse

Last week, I had a pain in my upper left leg; it was so bad, and continuous, I couldn't sleep. I went to the doctor, he poked it a bit, and prodded, and told me he thought it wasn't a DVT (I had a DVT in that leg a couple of decades ago) and sent me home.

Then it faded, and I was alright for a few days.

But on Tuesday it returned. Ladysolly was out playing bridge, but when she got back, I told her that I needed to go to A&E. Because 1) it was very painful, and I was facing another sleepless night, and 2) the GP hadn't done anything. So, round about midnight, we set out for Stoke Mandeville (because they dealt with my broken ribs so well).

Again, they dealt with me very well. I was obviously not an urgent case, and while I was waiting, a couple of babies came in and they were, rightly, pushed to the head of the queue. And there was a man there who was clutching his chest in great pain. I was also in pain, but a pain in the arse isn't as threatening as a pain in the chest.

After an hour, I was triaged. After another hour or so, I saw a nurse who took my blood pressure, temperature and oxygen level. After another hours, I saw another nurse who put in a cannula and took four blood samples, and after another hour, I saw the doctor.

His opinion is that it's a trapped nerve (the blood samples came up clean). He gave me Diazepam for it (a muscle relaxer) and suggested paracetamol as a pain killer. I got home at about 6am, and went to bed.

I checked the internet for additional recommendations, and it suggested heat treatment, so I'm applying a small electric blanket, and I think that also helps.





Thursday, 11 April 2019

Brexit delayed

The can has successfully been kicked six months down the road. October 31st is the new target date. So now we can procrastinate, equivocate and tergiversate until October 30th, and then go into panic mode again and ask for a further can-kicking.

Huh.

What's going to happen?

The ERG Awkward Squad can now go back to being Awkward, Jeremy can point to the fact that he hasn't actually been offered any leeway, and anyway why would he want to help the Tories get free of the petard that they are hoisting themselves with, and the 650-strong clown car in Westminster can continue to be weak and wobbly for another six months.

But I can see a way out!

Revoke article 50. We've already done major damage to our economy via the three years of uncertainty, and we won't get that back.

In 2016, most people didn't know that we had a treaty with the Republic of Ireland (the Good Friday Agreement) that guarantees open borders, which can only happen if we have a customs union or a single market.

So the choices are:

1. Outside the EU, but customs union.
2. Outside the EU, but single market.
3. Inside the EU (revoke A50).

Those are the only three options, although there's minor adjustments that could be added.

So never mind how we voted three years ago. Democracy means that you get to change your mind every few years.

What's the best option, 1, 2 or 3?

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Tomtom update

On April 6th, 2019, many GPSes, including TomTom, got hit be the "Millenium bug". Sort of.  There's a 10 bit week number in the clock, and that means 1024 weeks, about 20 years. Who would have thought we'd be using GPS 20 years later? Duh.

The practical effect on my ancient TomTom XXL, is that it can no longer tell me how many minutes to go before reaching my destination, or what my speed is. This is a minor problem, but slightly annoying.

So I updated the TomTom software. That turned out to be non-trivial, of course. You can only do it from a Windows box or a Mac, so I downloaded the software, and tried to run it. It crached, of course. I tried again. Same result. So I loged in to the Windows box as root, and tried again. That worked, nd the software was installed. So I tried to run it, and it asked for my username and password, and it rejected the one I had written down, so I asked it to email me a pssword reminder. It emailed me a link to click on, except that I don't use a web interface to my email (it's just too dangerous). So I clicked on the link in the email, which showed me the URL, I copy-pasted the URL to Firefox, it asked for a new password, which I supplied.

Then I was able to run the update. I chose to also update the speed camera data, but it choked on that, so I left that out and re-ran, and it worked!

So now I have a map update, and the clock works again.